I posted the following as a comment on Darren Miller’s post, “Another Reason To Oppose Tax Increases.” Darren is a fellow USAFA grad, but has (in some cases) political views more conservative than my own. The gist of his post was that because our government leaders have a pattern of overspending, the solution is to “starve the beast” (government) by not authorizing / approving new taxes. My thoughts are:
I agree “starving the beast” hasn’t worked and won’t work. We need to make systemic changes in the way campaign finance works in our country and the ways federal budget dollars are allocated. We have to make changes which remove as much corruption and potential corruption from the system as we can.
We have to eliminate earmarks. Everyone knows this, but because of the benefits those bring to local areas (and other reasons) we have not acted. The line item veto should be given to the President. Additionally, we should enact Congressional reforms which stop earmarks from being tacked into bills. This is ridiculous, clearly corrupt in many cases, and is a major contributor to the overspending which you cite in this post.
I also think we need campaign finance reform. This is an issue around which there has been a lot of talk but little action. Mazenko [an earlier commenter on this post] is right, we need to elect different officials, but simply electing new officials into the same system and political culture is not going to change things broadly. Fix Congress First is one initiative which is trying to do this.
The work of the Sunlight Foundation is also critical, relating to transparency and the potential to leverage social media tools for democratic change.
The recent report of People for the American Way, “Citizens Blindsided: Secret Corporate Money in the 2010 Elections and America’s New Shadow Democracy,” shared by political reformer Larry Lessig, points to our continuing problems with campaign finance which will persist until we (the voters) make systemic changes.
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